„Alexander Borst pursues excellent basic research, directly at the interface of experimental and theorical work,“ explains Ad Aertsen, chair of the jury. Main research focus of the biologist is neural information processing at the level of individual neurons and small neural circuits. As an example for neural computation, Alexander Borst studies visual course control in the fruit fly. His broad range of methods include—next to behavioral experiments—anatomic, genetic and electrophysiological studies, as well as computer simulation.
Alexander Borst received his PhD from Julius Maximilians Unversity of Würzburg in 1984. Afterwards, he worked several years at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen before he became junior group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen in 1993. In 1999, he joined the University of California in Berkeley. Since 2001, he is director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried. Together with his department, Alexander Borst is part of the Bernstein Center Munich and the Bernstein Collaboration “Neural Network Simulation”. Alexander Borst is a member of the German National Academy Leopoldina and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Among others, the 56-year-old researcher has been honored with the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society and the FENS award.
The Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience is presented biannually by the Bernstein Association to a scientist in recognition of outstanding research that contributes to our understanding of brain functions. In the spirit of Valentino Braitenberg’s research, special emphasis is given to theoretical studies. The awardee receives a € 5000 prize donated by the Autonome Provinz Bozen Südtirol, as well as complimentary participation in the Bernstein Conference. The prize will be awarded together with a Golden Neuron pin badge in a special ceremony on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014, at the Bernstein Conference in Göttingen. During the subsequent Valentino Braitenberg Lecture, Alexander Borst will present highlights of his research career. Journalists are welcome to attend the prize ceremony and the Valentino Braitenberg Lecture that will take place at the Central Lecture Hall (ZHG), Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, at 17:00 h.
The award is named after Valentino Braitenberg (1926-2011), eminent neuroscientist in Tübingen. Valentino Braitenberg was a pioneer of the modern research field of Computational Neuroscience, and has significantly contributed to the development of the field of biological cybernetics, and also inspired robotics and artificial intelligence.
The non-profit Bernstein Association was launched by members of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience in Germany in 2009. The Bernstein Center Munich and the Bernstein Collaboration „Neural Network Simulation“ are part of the National Bernstein Network. With this funding initiative, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has supported the new discipline of Computational Neuroscience since 2004 with over 180 million Euros. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835-1917).
Prof. Dr. Alexander Borst
Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Am Klopferspitz 18
Tel: +49 (0)89 8578 3250